The Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign

In our Gospel (Matthew 12: 38-42) today we hear the scribes and the Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign. He refuses to give them one and makes reference to Jonah.

Fr Paul says we, again, see again Matthew as the Gospel writer referring to the Old Testament a number of times and tying those references to Jesus.

In this particular case, Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights; the parallel for Jesus is that he will be in the earth for three days and three nights, having been put to death and then rising from the dead.

Jonah’s mission to Nineveh was to convert the people and they listened; they converted from their wicked ways, did penance and asked for God’s forgiveness. As we heard on Saturday, the mission of Jesus is a gentle one, a mission of healing.

The scribes and Pharisees are regarded as the most observant people of God and, yet, they refuse to recognise God’s teaching when it comes.  This is contrasted with others who immediately recognise God’s message and teaching.

The scribes and Pharisees are not accepting the authority of Jesus which Matthew has been stressing in these particular passages.

Mindful of this Fr Paul asks that we might reflect, in light of today’s Gospel, on ‘How accepting, how open am I to God’s teaching? Or do I refuse it just like the Pharisees did?